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Posted March 4, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes
 
 

Elohim’s Positive Affirmations

Elohim
Elohim

Earlier this year, singer-songwriter Elohim embarked on her full U.S. headlining tour, The Group Therapy Tour. It supports her new single, “Group Therapy.”  

A mental health awareness advocate, Elohim created a hotline as a way to give support to those struggling. Those that need someone to talk to can simply text Elohim directly at the number on her Instagram page.

Elohim also donated proceeds from the sales of last year’s Braindead EP to mental health initiatives in commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Month. In addition, she’s involved with the JED Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults.

Since making her debut four years ago, Elohim has collaborated with acts such as Louis the Child, Skrillex and Marshmello.

She spoke to us via phone from the first night of the tour in New York. “I’m trying to center myself,” she said. “I get overwhelmed at times, so today is my Zen day.”

You’re a mental health
advocate. Talk about what made you want to address that issue and start your
hotline.

I’ve dealt with a severe panic and anxiety disorder since I was a little kid. I didn’t identify it until later in life. I felt incredibly alone. I still have moments when I feel alone. But now, it’s so amazing to have this community that has accepted me and opened itself up to me. I have this community I can turn to. Last night, I was feeling anxious and looked at messages on Instagram from people who have gone through what I have gone through. It’s the first time in my life that I know anyone who goes what I go through—this severe “takes-over-your-life-and-you-cannot-control-it” anxiety. I’m so grateful I opened up to them, and I feel so much love.

It’s great you’ve made mental health an issue because our healthcare system doesn’t address the issue very well.

Yes. That’s why it was really important for me to find organizations that I could work with. I dedicate my life to making music but these other people dedicate their entire lives to helping others. It’s important to me to help them out. I know how hard it is to find therapy you can afford or find a community that supports you and understands what you’re going through.

You started playing piano when you were only 5. What made you want to learn to play at that early age?

My whole family was musical. My brother had started playing guitar, so I wanted piano. It was my version of what he was doing. I think that’s why. My dad bought me a $100 piano and he told me I had to get good and excel at piano before I got a new one. Ultimately, I did.

How did you gravitate to electronic music?

I think bands like Radiohead. I was drawn to weirder sounds. That’s naturally where my ear went even though I grew up playing classical piano. I always thought the weirder the better.

I love the ear candy weird sounds.

Is there a good electronic scene in Los Angeles?

There’s definitely an electronic music community. I found my own little home and family that I’m constantly working with. I have friends in the music industry. We’re all so busy doing our own things, but when we can finally come together, it’s so fun. And when we can make music together, it’s so much fun. A couple of days ago, my friends from Louis the Child texted me and wished me luck on the tour. There’s definitely a community out there, and it’s great to be involved in it.

What inspired you to call yourself Elohim?

For me, starting this project was a crazy time in my life. I was the most heartbroken. I moved into this house and was by myself and would cry every morning. I started making music because it was this flight-or-fight moment. I would stay up until 5 in the morning at the studio. One of the people at the studio said, “Elohim.” It took my breath away because it was such a beautiful word. I didn’t know the history behind it. I started diving into it more and it became its own meaning. My life was changing so much. This project brought that side of me out. It helped me become a stronger person. I was so insecure and so shy and so nervous to perform. This name gave me this alter ego, I guess you could say, where I felt stronger and in charge and an empowered woman. It’s like a positive affirmation — that word.

Did something in particular inspire the early single “Xanax”?

That’s the second song I ever wrote. It’s this juxtaposition. The first song was very fun and happy. “Xanax” was more about what I was going through. It was like my shout-out to the world. When I put that song out, I felt this rush of love and acceptance and understanding and community of support. That’s when I started talking about mental health. That song is the reason I know a lot of the people I know today. They’ve become some of my best friends that I met through my music and through the internet.

Your debut is so ambitious. Talk about what it was like to write and record that album.

Every record is a different experience. I was still finding myself and experimenting. I had just completed my next album, which was different, at least for me, internally. It might sound the same, but each experience is totally different and valuable to me in different ways. I was still discovering who I was. That was the first full project I put out. It’s hard to even think back to those times. Everything changes so quickly.

That Harvey Danger track you do with AWOLNATION is great. How do you know Aaron Bruno?

Aaron reached out for me to sing on one of his songs. It’s called “Table for One.” He wanted to do a new version of “Table for One.” His management showed him my music and we’ve become like brother and sister now. We grew up two miles from each other. We were both Southern California kids. We live close to each other now. We’ve become family. One day, I sent an a cappella version of it. He said he wanted to produce it. He absolutely killed it. I just added some live choirs. He pretty much nailed it.

“Group Therapy” is so perky.   

This whole group therapy concept came together not that long ago — maybe the end of last year. I knew I had to call the show “group therapy.” That’s what it is. People have said the show is cathartic for them. Whether it’s a religious experience or whatever. People have said they felt free from anxiety and depression and fear during the shows. The song was a super fun track that I made. It’s like an introduction to the tour. It’s like, “I want us to all have fun and love each other.”

Who sings the backing vocals on that track?

That’s actually a children’s choir. I’ve used them a lot. They are amazing. They are the sweetest kids. They’re really talented and have this awesome teacher. They’re so cute.

I think of it as an anthem for anyone who is different.

I feel that too. When I started rehearsing for the tour, I hadn’t played it before, but it felt like that to me too, and the words were hitting me a lot harder than I thought they would.

What’s the live show like?

It’s crazy. It’s just me on stage. I’m a one-woman show. I have cameras to make it feel even more interactive. There’s a camera on my face and that goes on the screen behind me. Since Day One, the show has been very important to me. I want it to equally visual and musical. The visuals are a big part of it. It’s very bright. You might want to wear sunglasses. I got to watch it from start to finish for the first time at the last rehearsals, and it’s really beautiful. It’s emotional and fun. There are three acts and it goes from fun to falling in love to this emotional love when we can go crazy.  It’s wild. It’s a whole experience.  


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.